- Within the framework of this event, held by the CCE Early Childhood Subcommittee, the OECD, the IDB, the Government of Nuevo León and the private sector, they agreed that Mexico may be the best place to be born and grow if it invests in early childhood.
- During the presentation of its study, the OECD highlighted that children are vulnerable for different reasons, described the individual and environmental factors at play, and urged countries to develop child welfare strategies that prioritize the needs of vulnerable children.
- Currently, the CCE Business Network, an initiative of the Education Commission, has 61 members, including companies, organizations and experts, who are actively implementing initiatives in favor of the development and well-being of children from zero to six years of age.
Mexico City, December 8, 2021.- Today the forum “The Challenges to Make Mexico the Best Place to Be Born In and Grow At” was held. It was organized by the Early Childhood Subcommittee of the Business Coordinating Council (CCE) alongside civil society organizations, international organizations and authorities. The forum highlighted the importance of investing, promoting and executing initiatives that impact and improve the conditions of early childhood – ranging from 0 to 6 years – to improve the conditions of the country in the immediate future.
The event was attended by Silvia Davalos, General Director of Public Policies and Commissions of the CCE; Rocío Abud, General Director of Coppel Foundation; Diana Hincapié, Economist of the Education Division of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB); Grainne Dirwan, Policy Expert at the Center for Well-Being, Inclusion, Sustainability and Equal Opportunities of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD); and Sofialeticia Morales, Head of the Secretariat of Education of Nuevo León, who addressed various strategies and actions that can be carried out from each of the sectors to make Mexico the best country to be born in and grow at. The co-chairs of the CCE Early Childhood Subcommittee; Eva Fernández, Manager of Social Investment in Early Childhood at FEMSA Foundation; and Francisco Casanueva, President of the Board of Directors of Interprotección also participated in the event.
It was emphasized that early childhood should be a priority for all sectors of society, including government and private initiative, since attention to early childhood development has positive effects on people’s well-being, as well as better results in educational tests, better health status even more than 25 years later, greater opportunities for employability, higher earnings, and less participation in criminal activities and aggressive behaviors. It was also highlighted that when companies invest in child care, it can present a substantial improvement in their performance, reduction of absenteeism, increase in productivity and a growing motivation and commitment, in addition to favoring the reputation of the company and helping it gain access to markets with a high level of social awareness.
In Mexico, investment in the care of children up to six years of age is barely 0.8% of GDP, when there is sufficient evidence that investment at this age has an annual return of 10%, according to the Pact for Early Childhood. “Given the current situation, it is essential to invest in the design and implementation of public policies and business policies aimed at early childhood in order to reverse the damage that the COVID-19 pandemic has left on children, as well as address the lags prior to the arrival of the virus. For the CCE, early childhood care has always been a priority, which is why we are very enthusiastic about this network that already has more than 40 companies that are working for our childhood”, said Silvia Dávalos, General Director of Public Policies and Commissions of the Business Coordinating Council.
At the Forum, Grainne Dirwan, Policy Expert at the OECD’s Center for Well-being, Inclusion, Sustainability and Equal Opportunities (WISE) presented the findings of the study ‘Changing Opportunities for Vulnerable Children. Build possibilities and resilience’. This document positions investment in early childhood as a central action to develop strategies that reduce risks and strengthen protection and resilience factors in girls and boys. Grainne Dirwan noted that “children make up a large part of the people living in poverty in OECD countries. High child poverty tells us that children don’t get the basics they need to develop their full potential. Participation in early childhood care and education is an important protective factor for the most vulnerable children, but their participation is much lower. Affordability is an issue. Countries must close this gap because the benefits of participating are very important for children ”.
The private sector plays a fundamental role in this task. The CCE Network for Early Childhood – an initiative of the Education Commission launched by the Early Childhood Subcommittee – already has more than 60 members, among companies and organizations, who promote mechanisms to create a change in culture and recognize the issue of first childhood as strategic for national competitiveness and productivity. They are aware that only by doing this will Mexico have a committed adult society in social, family and work areas.
According to research by James Heckman, Nobel Laureate in Economics in 2000, investing in the early years transforms children’s lives and impacts the trajectory of growth and competitiveness of countries, generating returns of up to 14% each year. Within companies, tangible benefits stand out, such as a decrease in staff turnover when implementing an extended maternity or paternity period.
During the discussion on the role of society to build a country with the best conditions to be born, the panelists commented on the main challenges of Mexico to create real opportunities from early childhood and their possible solutions. They also put forward proposals to promote early childhood care, starting with raising awareness.
“In Mexico, 34.2% percent of girls and boys live in conditions of poverty, which represents a great lack of elements to develop early childhood. Moving forward requires decisive action. In Nuevo León we have implemented a strategic project for early childhood as the best place to be born, grow at, study, and live. We work on three axes: political will, intersectoral work with follow-up, and alliance with civil society to offer better living conditions for early childhood”, said Sofialeticia Morales, Head of the Ministry of Education in the Government of Nuevo León.
“Today, only 36% of children between the ages of 3 and 5 attend school. From there, a large mathematical gap is formed, which is one of the main reasons for dropping out of school. As companies we have a great responsibility, especially regarding access to dignified care for the children of our employees. If we don’t do it in partnership as a business sector, we are not going to achieve this as a country”, said Rocío Abud, General Director of Coppel Foundation.
“The cost of keeping preschools closed will represent 3% of GDP. “Children were the big losers here. We see irreversible and lasting impacts, such as increased mortality and morbidity, social exclusion and violence against children. Also the loss of household income and the crisis of mental health, both for adults, caregivers and children. The role of civil society is fundamental in three aspects: raising awareness and including the issue on the agenda, implementing innovation and evaluation processes, and building bridges with the government, parents, academia and international organizations”, said Diana Hincapié, Economist of the Education Division of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB),
Eva Fernández, Manager of Social Investment in Early Childhood at FEMSA Foundation, and Co-President of the CCE’s Early Childhood Subcommittee, highlighted that “in Mexico, almost 50% of the population is in a situation of poverty that we have not been able to combat adequately. As a business sector we must promote awareness in early childhood and the investment it requires. We reaffirm our commitment by insisting on inserting inclusion policies to reduce differences and that allow putting early childhood on the agenda as a priority issue”.
To consult the OECD Study: ‘Changing Opportunities for Vulnerable Children: Building Possibilities and Resilience’, click here
About the CCE Network for Early Childhood
The CCE Network for Early Childhood is an initiative of the CCE Early Childhood Subcommittee. A group of more than 34 companies in the country that seek to influence and create a positive impact on early childhood, which contribute to promoting, designing, evaluating, implementing and executing initiatives and policies that strengthen the participation of the private sector in favor of early childhood, creating well-being for children as well as for their collaborators. For more information: https://cceprimerainfancia.mx/